miércoles, 21 de noviembre de 2012

Same Gender Love in the Middle East, versus West.

Khalil & Manjun (a memoir)
by Rahal Eks

This is a true story about a man from Egypt, a Muslim that... Hey, wait! This book is not about neither terrorism nor secret double agents adventures: this is a tale of looking for love, losing it and recovering from it, picking up the remains of the soul after the ground shaking revelation of a secret; and if you have wondered if there are gay Muslims out there... Yes, they do exist, despite fake marriages and homophobia in the Middle East.

Our narrator walks on the path of the Sufi tradition, and has already fallen in love with another man. At first sight this story could be labeled as the "Romeo and Juliette - Arab gay version" but it goes further, because it shows to us a new and fresh point of view about relationships, since our hero repairs his broken heart through spiritual healing.

If you are tired of reading novels about arabesque cliches plotting taking over the world, this book is for you. "Khalil & Majnun" will show you a landscape about the very different approach towards love and friendship in the Middle East, versus West.

This is the journey of a soul that has chosen the mystical Sufi path to know itself; and you don't need to be Muslim to understand the beauty of being in love and the pain of suffering it; besides, this memory has the flavor of a dream coming from the Middle East.


Hussein & The Nomad
by Rahal Eks

The handling of the issues of heart and mind

In "Hussein & the Nomad" we have an inside view of the colloquial and daily routine of an Egyptian Muslim man; a gay Arab whose live has nothing to do with mad jihadists, but with colorful and spiritual people. The author paints an interesting landscape of hetero and homosexual Middle East dating and mating folklore; in this journey, the reader will discover that same gender love has been present since ancient times in the Arab world, but in a more subtle, non blatantly way, as in the Western side.

Our narrator takes us on a "tour de force" as he works in the movie business, where big or low budget films converge, looking for the "Moroccan type" of actors and locations for historical movies (usually told from the Western perspective point of view). Besides, we have a glimpse in the intimacy world of Mr. R, who in full and fun disclosure shares with us his love adventures, flings, "quickies" and affairs, all of this interleaved with his spiritual initiation on the Sufi path.

This is the kind of book that reads with delight as we are introduced in a world that could be exotic to many people, but there is a point when the reader will ask himself that maybe we, the westerners, are "the others". Mr. R. does a statement in a very clever way through his memoir: the handling of the issues of heart and mind is very different between Western and Middle East.

When Hussein (the second main character), appears, Mr. R believes that happiness is just around the corner... and a bad omen shows and weird things begin to happen; by then, all the meaningful relationships to Mr. R will be tested and people will show their true colors when our brave narrator finds out the truth about something about a disease that could destroy his body, soul, and those who he had loved.


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